“We are very fortunate in our area to have grants and an office and staff,” Bennett said. “We provide more services than most NAMI groups.”
Mental illness touches nearly every family, she pointed out, and is recognized as a disability, yet there is still stigma associated with it.
“You can have a responsible job and have a diagnosis,” Bennett said. “NAMI wants to shine a light on it.”
The soup cook-off was an opportunity for the public to show its support for community organizations that provide free services to all with a mental illness, said Amanda Bulris, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Champlain Valley.
Since receiving help from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Cordle has gotten over her fear of talking with people, found permanent housing and medical insurance, and volunteers.
“It is very rewarding.”